Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Festival of Sport: Sprint Triathlon

So the Festival of Sport was supposed to be my debut Olympic distance triathlon (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run), but having driven round the bike course I decided to opt for the Sprint tri.  Not that the bike course on this was much easier, but at least there was only 20k of it rather than 40k.  I probably *could* have got round it, but at risk of breaking myself for the two remaining swim races.  Doing the shorter one also gave me the chance to try to race, and it also meant that I had time to get myself sorted out before going out on the run course to cheer Mr Tuna on.

The swim if I'm honest wasn't great.  Partly this was because the women were held back to start 2 minutes after the men, so I had to swim through all of the men, and partly because it was an out and back swim, and there were a lot of weaker swimmers who had decided to have a rest at the buoy and were holding onto the support kayaks, getting in the way.  It definitely wasn't a fast swim, swimming just doesn't agree with me, but I think I was the third woman out of my wave.

The swim was then followed (and I think this was included in the split) by a 400m run along the beach which meant that my heart was pounding by the time that I hit transition.  I'd had to set up on the sand, so I needed to rinse my feet off before I could put my shoes on. 

Because we'd cycled the bike course two days before, I was able to ride it strategically.  There was a very big hill near the start with a steeper mid section.  I decided that I would walk some of the steeper bit, thus enabling myself to get on where it flattened out (but was still uphill).  This seemed to save my legs a little and I felt smug when I then overtook a few people (who had overtaken me) nearer the top.  In fact, that was the only uphill that I needed to walk, and I walked down one sharp downhill.  Like my last tri, my confidence on the road bike increased by the second half and I was positively flying along by the end.  Too bad most of the bikes were back in transition when I got there!

Quick swig of water and then off on the run.  Lots of people were watching and giving encouragement which was nice.  I knew that the run was basically 2.5k uphill and 2.5k downhill (another out and back route).  I didn't know how I'd find that as I've only really run on the flat before.  Running uphill was quite hard and made my back hurt, but I knew there was a feed station at the top so I told myself that if I could keep going until then, I would walk through and drink a whole cup of water.  Managed that and then was able to run down to the end!  I have to say that as with the bike, it really helped knowing the route (it was along the road we were staying on); it is good to know where you are in relation to the finish!  The only sad thing about the experience which felt really good due to the positive experience on the bike was crossing the finish line and not having Mr Tuna there to say well done (although obviously he did later).  I went immediately to sort out my stuff and get back to have a shower so that I could get out to cheer his half marathon on at the  end of his first half ironman.

Unfortunately, they hadn't managed to transfer my entry properly across so I ended up in the Olympic Distance results (with a very fast time - ha!).  I asked for this to be changed, but in the process lost my splits (and still had half an hour on my time because the Olympic Distance started half an hour earlier...).  I'm still waiting on the official splits, but I do know that the bike was 1h03ish and that my run was 24:57 which is a personal best.  I'm super pleased about the run, it obviously suits me running half uphill and half downhill.  This time last year I had only just started Couch to 5k, and my previous PB (from the Ox Tri Sprint a month ago) was 27 minutes.

I think it was a sensible decision overall to change distances - I had a rest day yesterday while we travelled back, and then a much longer (2.5k with lots of drills) recovery swim that I might have managed otherwise.  Am tempted out on my bike but it's raining :-(


  1. Riding, running, or driving the race courses before the event always gives me peace of mind, and it lets me come up with a good gameplan. That's so strange about the race distance confusion; hope the organizers got it all sorted out. Nice run split!

  2. My chip was just set up wrong, but I did get my results sorted in the end, phew! We are planning to go over to the 70.3 with plenty of time to do race recces etc!